Sunday, March 18, 2018

Happy (belated) St. Patrick's Day & freebies

Good intentions sure can go astray as mine did with a bad sinus headache and severe fatigue. I'm embarrassed to say I'd already completed one of the zips for 3/17 but hadn't packed it up. That was the sort of traditional Irish American take on the day. I'd meant to also have ready a zip related to the real purpose of St. Patrick's Day but I'm still at it. March 17th is meant to be the feast day of St. Patrick, one of Ireland's patron saints and the celebration there differs from that of Irish-Americans. Here we pretty much use the date to celebrate anything Irish and it's primarily an excuse to party. We dye fountains, even rivers green. We wear green but often it's tee shirts and hats with comical, satirical, even nasty captions. And there is a lot of celebrating with green beer. Now you won't be finding any green beer here today because I'll not contribute to the image of Irish as drunks. Sure, many enjoy a pint now and then, perhaps an Irish coffee, or a nip of Irish whiskey. Truly, Guinness and Jamisons are major exports. But on St. Patrick's or St. Paddy's (never Patty's) day in Ireland, churches are celebrating the feast of the saint who brought Christianity to Ireland and bars tend to be closed. No green beer around. A little extra Guinness might be consumed but there isn't wild bar hopping. Nor are families likely to be eating a dinner of corned beef and cabbage; that is an Irish-American tradition. More likely families are sitting down to a Shepard's Pie (most often made with lamb),or perhaps a nice roast.

I myself had planned to make something authentically Irish on 3/17 but not dinner. No, I'd thought I'd make some scones from Bannock loaves to have with my tea in the morning. (If anyone is interested, I've an easy recipe that makes wonderful crumbly Bannock.) But that didn't come about. We had a dinner of spaghetti with mild Italian sausage and that wasn't totally out of line as St. Patrick was not Irish atallatall. Nope, his father was Roman and Patrick came to the British Isles as a slave. My intentions for that second zip, (which is going to have to be completed later on Sunday) were to touch on St. Patrick & St. Brigid, two of Ireland's three patron saints. The third is St. Columba and I confess I know little about him. Yes, I know discussion of religion in a public forum is frowned upon but can you really discuss Ireland without doing so? Trust me, I'll keep it simple.

Anyway, my more Irish-American take on St. Patrick's Day (minus green beer) is a nod to a favorite Irish legend most everyone knows - the leprechaun. I learned about leprechauns at an early age from my maternal grandfather who was a great story teller. As Pappy described the leprechauns, they were nothing like the malevolent beings Hollywood has recently portrayed. Oh, they are mischievous to be sure and greedy for gold but not ugly or violent (except perhaps when threatened?). We were told they were child size - about three feet tall. Only males and no one seemed to know how they had come about. Some said they were defective children of the fairies. I can't remember precisely how Pappy described them other than that but I always had the impression that they looked rather like small, wizened old men. In this zip you will find lots of leprechauns, 3 papers, a hat and a shillelagh (walking stick & also cudgel), a word art about that (not shown) and an Irish toast which basically wishes health (and is pronounced like slawn-cha) and another word art about the end of the rainbow. Oops - forgot a rainbow!


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